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Russian Comfrey

Scientific Name: Symphytum x uplandicum
Family: Boraginaceae

Perennial, member of the Boraginaceae Family. It is a hybrid of Common Comfrey (S. officinale) and Rough Comfrey (S. asperum). An escapee from cultivation it is now naturalised throughout the British Isles, found on roadsides, wood margins and on waste ground. It can be up to one metre in height.
It has been grown as a fodder crop on the continent, but it contains some pyrrolizidine alkaloids which can be hepatotoxic if consumed in quantity. Like Common Comfrey, the topgrowth can be harvested to use as a green manure, added to the compost heap or made into a tea for liquid feeding.
Along with the other members of the Symphytum Genera it contains allantoin which promotes the development of new cells. So it can be used to treat limb injuries such as sprains and damaged ligaments. The roots are pounded then boiled to make to a thick paste which is applied as a plaster. A poultice can be prepared from the leaves and stems after heating them.

The lance-shaped leaves are bristly and a distiguishing feature for this hybrid is the pair of short wings which extend down the stem below the axil for a few centimetres (see lower inset) - the wings are continuous on the stems of Common Comfrey and absent on Rough Comfrey. The purplish-blue flowers occur from June to August arranged in cymes, borne in the upper leaf axils.

The deep, succulent rhizomes make this a difficult plant to uproot and it will regrow from pieces left behind.
Weedkillers to use:-
Glyphosate is systemic so is taken down to the roots.

Other plants with similar leaves include Borage, Common Comfrey, Tuberous Comfrey, Foxglove and Green Alkanet

Follow these links for further details on Weeds, Weed Removal and Weed Prevention.

picture of Russian Comfrey and flowers

image of Russian Comfrey roots